Winegrape Commission Announces Installation and Use of Ford Pro Telematics Available to All Winegrape Farmers
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (April 21, 2022) – Today, Sonoma County Winegrowers took another step forward in being leaders in sustainability as they announced a complimentary one-year subscription to Ford Pro Telematics to every winegrape farmer in Sonoma County. The announcement arrives on the heels of the exciting collaboration between Sonoma County Winegrowers and Ford Pro which also includes a pilot program with three Sonoma County winegrape farmers who have agreed to adopt Ford Pro electric vehicles, charging stations and software solutions into their operations. It is all part of an effort to improve bottom lines, operational efficiencies and reduce carbon emissions. Early insights from fleet monitoring software, Ford Pro Telematics, installed into pilot farmers existing gas vehicle operations have already proven to show benefits.
“I am most interested to gain insight on our fleet in real time. How long are our vehicles idling and what is the cost for that,” said Marissa Ledbetter, owner of Vino Farms and one of the three pilot farmers in Sonoma County. She added, “To be able to gain insight on all our vehicles, measure it day over day, week over week, will provide me with a level of insight I have never had access to before.”
The intent is to let all farmers experience the many benefits of telematics so they can learn how it will make them more efficient in their vehicle use, lower their operating costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions. This continues the innovation, climate and thought leadership of the local Sonoma County winegrape farmers and is an important milestone to engage all of the farmers in this collaboration and learning.
“Since the announcement of our collaboration with Ford Pro at the beginning of this year, there has been an overwhelming response from our farmers wanting to participate in going electric on their farms and optimizing their fleet management,” said Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrape Growers. She added, “Given that interest, there is no better day than Earth Day to announce that SCW is offering free installation and one-year service of Ford Pro telematics for all winegrowers in the County. This is a win-win for our growers and the environment. A true tribute to caring for our planet”
Ford Pro Telematics software is a product offered on the Ford Pro Intelligence cloud-based platform, designed to help small businesses optimize their fleet of vehicles by providing always-on access to vehicle health reports and other data that will help the vehicle owner to reduce operating costs, help improve fuel consumption and identify maintenance needs in addition to monitoring and improving driver behaviors.
One of the most critical tools for a farmer is their vehicles which, on average, log up to 50,000 miles a year and make up 10% of a farm’s assets. Understanding vehicle usage, down-time and idling in addition to transitioning fleet operations to electric vehicles will help support the sustainability mission for Sonoma County farmers while helping Sonoma County Winegrowers bring these best practices to farmers across the country.
“The goal of this offer is to provide every grower with ability to use and learn firsthand how telematics can make them more efficient using their work vehicle, lowering their operating costs and lowering greenhouse gas emissions,” said Kruse. “The farm of the future is right here right now in Sonoma County. We are proud to be part of the progress in climate stewardship.”
The Sonoma County Farm Bureau is proud to present the inaugural 2022 Water Summit. Over two days, attendees will explore the unique and complex water-related issues facing agricultural producers in California.
The Sonoma County Farm Bureau is proud to present the inaugural 2022 Water Summit. Over two days, attendees will explore the unique and complex water-related issues facing agricultural producers in California.
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (February 3, 2022) — Ever wonder what the farm of the future will look like? Chances are you won’t have to look very far.
Following last week’s announcement of a new collaboration between Ford Pro and Sonoma County Winegrowers, the farm of the future in America is likely going to be experienced first in Sonoma County, the nation’s most sustainable winegrowing region, in the very near future.
On Thursday, for the second year in a row, local winegrape growers turned to technology to virtually participate in Sonoma County Winegrape Growers’ 31st annual Dollars and $ense Seminar and Trade Show. As in past years, Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, used the annual event to showcase the sustainability efforts of the organization and shed light on future activities.
“We have used the past 18 months of the pandemic to rethink everything we do to ensure we further our sustainability goals. This includes creating the resources, programs and collaborations to accelerate our efforts to successfully farm in the future,” said Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrape Growers. She added, “Our intent is for Sonoma County to be an active case study and living lab for the world and our collaboration with Ford Pro is a big step forward to achieve that mission.”
Working with Ford Pro, Sonoma County winegrowers will be learning about the transition to electric vehicles, fleet management and optimization and how they can play a bigger role in lowering the use of fossil fuels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This innovative new effort will make farming in Sonoma County and around the country even more sustainable.
Envisioning what’s ahead for local farmers, Sonoma County Winegrowers launched a new “Farm of the Future” initiative today at Dollars & $ense. This pioneering climate and sustainability program will support Sonoma County’s farmers in optimizing the best practices for climate adaptation, leverage the latest in innovation and technology while recognizing that every year farmers respond to mother nature and need flexibility in farming. This set of best management practices improves their ability to sequester carbon and lower GHG emissions while responding to the current climate, regulatory, marketplace, community, culture and business conditions. There is no single perfect response to these challenges, but there is a way to optimize practices every year and continuously improve. This program builds on the local winegrowing community’s commitment to sustainability and the learning gained from being part of a climate adaptation pilot the past two years.
Kruse added, “The Farm of the Future gives us an unprecedented approach to farming, best practices, current conditions and how we continue to inspire innovation, thought leadership and partnerships to support Sonoma County grape growing.”
About Sonoma County Winegrowers:
Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW) was established in 2006 as a marketing and educational organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions. With more than 1,800 growers, SCW’s goal is to increase awareness and recognition of the quality, sustainability and diversity of Sonoma County’s grapes and wines through dynamic marketing and educational programs targeted to wine consumers and influencers around the world.In 2014, Sonoma County’s winegrowing community embarked on a major initiative to have all Sonoma County vineyards certified sustainable. Today, 99% of the vineyard acreage in Sonoma County has completed certification by a third-party auditor making Sonoma County the most sustainable winegrowing region in the world. In addition, in 2020, SCW was a pilot partner in a climate adaptation program to learn how local farmers could create custom farm plans to be part of the climate solution and leaders in this movement.SCW’s sustainability efforts have been recognized with California’s highest environmental honor, the 2016 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA). Learn more at www.sonomawinegrape.org.
Ford Pro™ is collaborating in a pilot program that will supply three Sonoma County farms in California with the full suite of Ford Pro solutions, including F-150® Lightning™ Pro pickups and E-Transit™ cargo vans to help drive their business forward while tackling the next frontier in sustainable fleet operations
Pilot program farms are being outfitted with Ford Pro charging stations to complement the solar power that has been a critical part of the push for sustainability by the Sonoma County Winegrowers since 2014
Ford Pro Intelligence™1 services is designed to help small businesses optimize their gas and electric fleets by providing always-on access to vehicle health reports and other data that help reduce operating costs, vehicle downtime and fuel consumption
SEBASTOPOL, Calif., Jan. 26, 2022 – One of the most forward-thinking winegrowing counties in the United States is looking to advance its sustainability mission, and the Ford Pro™ suite of electric vehicles, charging and telematics services has been tapped to help make that happen.
Ford Pro and the Sonoma County Winegrowers, a group of more than 1,800 grape farmers in Northern California, are launching a pilot program that will add Ford F-150® Lightning™ Pro pickups, E-Transit™ cargo vans, and Ford Pro™ Intelligence™ products and services to three pilot farms in Sonoma County, one of the world’s most renowned wine regions.
The heart of the mission is to demonstrate how electric vehicles and web-based fleet management tools can have a positive impact on the agriculture industry in terms of increasing productivity, improving sustainability and lowering the total cost of fleet ownership anywhere from 10% to 20%2.
“Ford Pro is thrilled to team with the Sonoma County Winegrowers to further their sustainability goals and begin their transition to fully integrated all-electric fleets with on-site charging,” said Wanda Young, Ford Pro global chief marketing officer. “Ford Pro and the Sonoma County Winegrowers are driven by many of the same tenets – to accelerate productivity while operating responsibly.”
The pilot program is launching with Bevill Vineyard Management and Vino Farms in Healdsburg, and Dutton Ranch in Sebastopol – which collectively represent about 4,000 acres in the vineyard-rich Russian River Valley. Young anticipates the program will expand in the coming months to include other farming operations in the county.
About 60,000 acres across Sonoma County are dedicated to growing wine grapes, and another 120,000 acres are used for other diversified agriculture, such as apple orchards, dairy farms and cut flowers. In 2014, the Sonoma County Winegrowers launched an initiative to represent one of the nation’s leading winegrowing regions in terms of sustainability, with a target of reaching sustainable designation for nearly all of its vineyard acreage in the county.
Karissa Kruse, Sonoma County Winegrowers president and internationally renowned sustainability champion, said she believes electric vehicle adoption and efficient fleet management are the next steps in sustainability.
In addition to the vehicles, farms can consult with the Ford Pro team for the duration of the program. Pilot farmers will have access to Ford Pro Intelligence1 software, home and depot charging, Ford Pro™ Telematics Essentials™3 and Ford Pro™ E-Telematics™4 and energy management – all to help reduce operating costs and more efficiently manage gas- and electric-powered vehicle fleets.
“This collaboration with the Ford Pro team is a great natural next step to help us continue our progress in sustainable agriculture,” Kruse said. “A lot of farming families have a rich history with Ford, and with history comes trust. So as many of our farmers look for ways to lead in innovation and be a part of the solution, that trust is critical when it comes to investing in electric vehicles and in solutions to manage farming fleets. Our farmers love this pilot program; it’s going to be foundational.”
Vehicles among farmers’ most valuable tools
A year in the life of a Sonoma County winegrower can be sliced into two portions – roughly nine months to grow and three months to harvest. Occasionally, as in 2017, the uncertainties of Mother Nature condense the harvest to a four-week sprint. No time for vehicle downtime.
Ford Pro Intelligence* gives farmers access to important data on every vehicle – whether gas-powered or electric. The web-based service offers always-on access to vehicle health reports and other data designed to help limit vehicle downtime while lowering operating costs. All across the county, on farms large and small, winegrowers rely daily on their trucks to haul everything from fertilizer and fuel tanks to water and portable bathrooms. Some vehicles log upward of 50,000 miles a year, traveling between properties from Cloverdale to Petaluma.
Naturally, operating these vehicles – and maintaining them to keep them operational – is one of an organization’s largest expenses. At Dutton Ranch, which runs a fleet of about 70 work vehicles, fuel costs average about $5,000 per month. The prospect of reducing that monthly expense is critical to operations moving forward. Electric vehicles, coupled with the solar power that many Sonoma County ranches already generate and store, represent an important way to help offset rising fuel costs.
The technology connects wirelessly – helping businesses manage fleets with real-time vehicle insights. Information includes maintenance schedules, charge event monitoring, vehicle tracking, state of charge, range, charge history and logs, charging/battery settings and alerts, and departure preconditioning to help maximize range and save battery life for the road to get the job done.
“Just as an F-150 Lightning or E-Transit is an essential asset for a small business owner, so too is Ford Pro Intelligence,” Young said. “We believe that the telematics data will change the way farmers manage their fleets and operations.”
As veterans in sustainability practices, the Sonoma County Winegrowers have impacted other vocations regionally. Representatives in trucking, logistics, grocery stores and other specialties have taken notice, and Kruse hopes her organization continues to help lead the charge.
Ford, meanwhile, is among the automotive leaders in sustainability – the only full-line American automaker committed to doing its part to reduce CO2 emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and working with California for stronger vehicle greenhouse gas standards5. Ford is targeting 100% renewable energy for its global operations by 2035 and being fully carbon neutral worldwide by 2050.
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1 Available on vehicles with embedded modem or equipped with approved plug-in device. May require modem activation. Ford Pro Telematics and Ford Pro Data Services require a purchased subscription. Terms and conditions apply. Telematics service and features, and access to vehicle data, depend on subscription and compatible AT&T network availability. Evolving technology/cellular networks/vehicle capability may limit functionality and prevent operation of connected features.
2 Based on “Case Study: Olathe Ford CV Dealership Fleet Management TCO Model” KPMG, Dec. 10, 2021.
3 Complimentary product. Available on vehicles with embedded modem. Requires modem activation. Terms and conditions apply. Telematics service and features, and access to vehicle data depend on compatible AT&T network availability. Evolving technology/cellular networks/vehicle capability may limit functionality and prevent operation of connected features.
4 Eligible vehicles receive a complimentary three-year trial of E-Telematics services that begins on the new vehicle warranty start date. Requires modem activation. Terms and conditions apply. Telematics service and features, and access to vehicle data, depend on compatible AT&T network availability. Evolving technology/cellular networks/vehicle capability may limit functionality and prevent operation of connected features. After the three-year trial, annual service contract is required for E-Telematics service. Call 833.811.3673 to activate E-Telematics service.
5 Based on latest available information as of July 8, 2021. https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan, that is committed to helping build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams. The company’s Ford+ plan for growth and value creation combines existing strengths, new capabilities and always-on relationships with customers to enrich experiences for and deepen the loyalty of those customers. Ford designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of connected, increasingly electrified passenger and commercial vehicles: Ford trucks, utility vehicles, vans and cars, and Lincoln luxury vehicles. The company is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, connected vehicle services and mobility solutions, including self-driving technology, and provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. Ford employs about 184,000 people worldwide. More information about the company, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company is available at corporate.ford.com.
About Sonoma County Winegrowers
Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW) was established in 2006 as a marketing and educational organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions. With more than 1,800 growers, SCW’s goal is to increase awareness and recognition of the quality, sustainability and diversity of Sonoma County’s grapes and wines through dynamic marketing and educational programs targeted to wine consumers and influencers around the world. In 2014, Sonoma County’s winegrowing community embarked on a major initiative to have all Sonoma County vineyards certified sustainable. Today, 99% of the vineyard acreage in Sonoma County has completed certification by a third-party auditor making Sonoma County the most sustainable winegrowing region in the world. SCW’s sustainability efforts have been recognized with California’s highest environmental honor, the 2016 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA). Learn more at www.sonomawinegrape.org.
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (Jan. 11th, 2022) – The Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation will soon launch an innovative program for local vineyard employees with the aim to create future leaders. The Richard and Saralee Kunde Leadership Academy will provide participants with a unique opportunity to learn about a host of topics including financial literacy, conflict resolution, community resources, wine production and more to provide critical professional development.
“The Leadership Academy is one of the most exciting efforts ever undertaken in Sonoma County,” said Karissa Kruse, executive director of the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation and president of Sonoma County Winegrowers. She added, “We have always enjoyed a strong relationship with our vineyard employees, and we want to provide them with the skill set to help them become leaders in our community and in our industry.”
The pioneering program will begin on Thursday, February 10th, with California Secretary of Agriculture, Karen Ross, addressing the group and providing an overview of the role of agriculture in the state’s economy. The initial session will focus on Sonoma County agriculture. The Leadership Academy will provide training in the following topics:
Overview of Sonoma County agriculture, government, policies and more
Learning about wine and wine production to connect what they do in the vineyard to the final product
Community resources overview (non-profits and programs that support Latinx population)
“I applaud the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation and the Sonoma County Winegrape Growers for launching this exciting employee leadership program,” said Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. She added, “For farming and ranching to remain viable in California, we must create these types of new opportunities for more people to learn, connect and lead the industry in the years ahead.”
The Academy will not teach new farming skills, but, instead, focus on advancing the skills needed for vineyard employees to be promoted into leadership roles within their organization or enhance their current leadership skills and role. The Academy is named for the late Richard and Saralee Kunde, respected winegrape growers and community leaders who worked tirelessly to promote Sonoma County grapes, wine, milk and more while working to preserve farming and open space in the region.
This will be the inaugural year for the Leadership Academy. It will be an annual program with a limited number of participants each year who will be nominated by their employers and go through a selection process. The class sizes are anticipated to be 20 participants to ensure a good experience and an opportunity for individuals to freely ask questions and to build a professional network.
“Our intent is to make this the most prestigious leadership program in all of agriculture while empowering participants to pursue leadership opportunities at their work and in our community,” said Duff Bevill, chairman of the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation’s board of directors. He added, “This is the next natural step for the Foundation which has long been committed to support our skilled agricultural workforce and their families who sustain farming in Sonoma County.”
The year-long leadership program will meet 8 times between February and July for a half-day class Vineyard owners and management companies may nominate one employee for the program. There will be up to 20 participants per annual class. The accepted nominees will participate in the Learning Academy while being paid by their employers.
Friday, May 20th – Sunday, May 22nd Healdsburg Healdsburg Ave & Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448
Head to Healdsburg for the ultimate farm-to-table experience. Go beyond the plate and meet the passionate farmers and makers behind the magic. Hear from local legends and world-class winemakers as they share what inspired the dish and what went into the glass.
First international food and wine event in a U.S. wine region to take place May 20-22, 2022, to showcase farmers, growers, winemakers and chefs.
SANTA ROSA, California – Dec. 14, 2021 – SD Media Productions will host the first-ever international culinary event in Sonoma County – the first of its kind to take place in a major U.S. wine region – with today’s announcement of the inauguralHealdsburg Wine & Food Experience, founded in partnership with the Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW). The three-day celebration will take place May 20-22, 2022, spotlighting world-class wines and food from the heart of California’s wine country, as well as other regions.
With a primary focus on the producers and makers of the region – along with philanthropic components benefitting the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation and local Healdsburg High School Future Farmers of America – the schedule will offer distinct experiences including tastings, exclusive performances, and VIP experiences intended to educate participants on the region’s farmers and growers.
“Our goal with this festival is to highlight the vibrant culinary diversity and sustainable farming practices of Sonoma as it relates to the rest of the world,” says SD Media Productions Founder/CEO Steve Dveris. “The festival will showcase the region’s makers alongside globally recognized wines from the greatest wine regions.”
The stellar culinary line-up was intentionally curated to highlight established and rising star chefs, with attention to approachability and diversity, including Chopped judge Maneet Chauhan; Iron Chef Stephanie Izard; and California chef-restauranteur Nyesha Arrington. Other participating chefs can be found at https://www.healdsburgwineandfood.com/talent.
“We are thrilled to introduce this special event that will showcase the deep connection to agriculture at play throughout Sonoma County – the true makers behind the magic of the destination,” said Karissa Kruse, President of Sonoma County Winegrowers. “Healdsburg has become a global tourist destination in its own right; it was a natural choice to bring an experience like this to the region. This area is truly one-of-a-kind, and we look forward to collaborating with partners to highlight the myriad of opportunity here.”
Attendees can expect classic Healdsburg experiences, in addition to newly opened offerings including The Matheson, The Montage, and The Madrona. Select VIP experiences include Culinary Demonstrations at The Matheson, which provides an opportunity to interact with an 88-bottle self-serve wine wall and the newly opened Rooftop Reserve Wine Lounge, where sips and bites are enjoyed while overlooking the Healdsburg Plaza.
A country music concert will be held at Rodney Strong Vineyards on Saturday evening, benefitting Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation, whose mission is to raise funds that support healthcare, affordable housing, workforce development and other resources that support and elevate local vineyard workers and farmworkers and their families.
Other events include a magnum party, wine seminars, curated tastings and more. Vineyard truck tours, available for the first time to consumers, will allow attendees to walk the vineyards, touch the soil and learn how wine is made from the person who makes it; following the adventure, participants will meet at Dutton Ranch for an authentic Sonoma-style BBQ featuring the “Texas Cowboy Chef,” Tim Love.
Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and Edible Marin & Wine Country are the Healdsburg Wine & Food Experience media partners. Jackson Family Wines and Ford PRO™ will be showcasing their sustainability efforts along with Sonoma County Winegrowers and other partners to be announced.
VIP packages are available for purchase now, and General Admission tickets will be available in January 2022. Pricing is as follows:
SD Media Productions LLC (SDMP) is the owner and operator of various culinary and lifestyle events and seminars, including the Healdsburg Wine & Food Experience. The company’s primary objective is to create active consumer experiences that celebrate the appreciation of our world’s extraordinary bounty, and that also raise awareness of vital issues such as sustainability, heritage, culinary diversity and health. The principals have extensive experience in creating and operating luxury lifestyle products and services.
The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, also known as Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW), was established in 2006 as a marketing and educational organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions. With more than 1,800 growers, SCW’s goal is to increase awareness and recognition of the quality and diversity of Sonoma County’s grapes and wines through dynamic marketing and educational programs targeted to wine consumers around the world.
In January 2014, SCW committed to becoming the nation’s first 100% sustainable winegrowing region in 2019. As of September 2019, 99% of the vineyard acreage in Sonoma County has completed certification by a third-party auditor making Sonoma County the most sustainable wine region in the world. In addition, in 2020, SCW became the exclusive pilot partner for the California Land Stewardship’s Climate Adaptation Certification. SCW’s sustainability efforts have been recognized with California’s highest environmental honor, the 2016 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA). Learn more at www.sonomawinegrape.org.
8:30am-11am | Thursday, February 3rd
Zoom Webinar (register here)
The Sonoma County Winegrowers’ Dollars & $ense Annual Seminar will take place on Thursday, February 3rd from 8:30am – 11am via Zoom and the content will center on new initiatives and trends in the grape and wine marketplace, both in the U.S. and globally.
We have an exciting line-up of speakers and updates to share with you including our 2021 recap, your bulk market update, a special keynote and a big partnership announcement. Please plan on tuning in!